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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(1), 291-302; doi:10.3390/ijerph7010291

Correcting the Actual Reproduction Number: A Simple Method to Estimate R0 from Early Epidemic Growth Data

1
PRESTO, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Saitama, 332-0012, Japan
2
Theoretical Epidemiology, University of Utrecht, Yalelaan 7, Utrecht, 3584CL, The Netherlands
Received: 24 December 2009 / Accepted: 18 January 2010 / Published: 21 January 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Epidemiology)
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Abstract

The basic reproduction number, R0, a summary measure of the transmission potential of an infectious disease, is estimated from early epidemic growth rate, but a likelihood-based method for the estimation has yet to be developed. The present study corrects the concept of the actual reproduction number, offering a simple framework for estimating R0 without assuming exponential growth of cases. The proposed method is applied to the HIV epidemic in European countries, yielding R0 values ranging from 3.60 to 3.74, consistent with those based on the Euler-Lotka equation. The method also permits calculating the expected value of R0 using a spreadsheet.
Keywords: transmission; infectious diseases; basic reproduction number; epidemiology; statistical model; estimation techniques; HIV; AIDS transmission; infectious diseases; basic reproduction number; epidemiology; statistical model; estimation techniques; HIV; AIDS
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Nishiura, H. Correcting the Actual Reproduction Number: A Simple Method to Estimate R0 from Early Epidemic Growth Data. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7, 291-302.

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